Celebration of the day of Consecrated Life with a Seminar at Claretian Seminary, Malleswaram

Claretian Seminary, in association with Sanyasa: Institute of Consecrated Life, organized a one day seminar on the theme Politics of Exclusivity, Division and Intimidation: A Critical Response from Consecrated Life, for the Religious in the Archdiocese of Bangalore. The Seminar was attended by 180 men and women religious from different religious congregations. Rev. Fr Jacob Arakkal, the Provincial Superior of the Claretians of Bengaluru Province, welcomed the participants and Rev. Fr. Arul Robin, the Director of Sanyasa: Institute introduced the program to all.

The Kingdom of God formed the central concern of the Messianic proclamation of Jesus. Many of the parables of Jesus were intended to awaken our hearts and minds towards this multidimensional reality. A major characteristic of the Kingdom envisioned by Jesus is its inclusiveness; it invites all and embraces all and no one is excluded. “Kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind” (Mt. 13:47). God, the Sower sows His seeds everywhere. He sows not only on the good soil but also on rocky and thorny ground, and even on the borders (Mt. 13:4-8; Mk. 4:1-8). Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd… I have other sheep that belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice so that there will be one flock and one shepherd.”

Exclusivity and discrimination that bring division and polarization are alien to the message of the Gospel. Being responsible stewards of God’s Kingdom, we need to be defenders and proclaimers of unity and mutual acceptance in the midst of the diversities in faith, languages and cultures of our nation. The contemporary scenario of our nation where a certain politics of majoritarianism thrives, what should be our response? A secularism that does not deny religion but respects diverse forms of its expression and channelizes its wisdom to foster growth and unity of the nation needs to be fostered. As consecrated men and women who are called to be Kingdom-spotters, what is the new theological framework we can evolve that will help us to collaborate and network with those who suffer from an imposing models of monolithic unity. Can we honestly hope to reconcile the differences that fragment and desecrate our world? What avenues are available so that we can contribute to the re-creation of life in the depth and unity of the One who holds all things in being. The main aim of the Seminar was to facilitate the above process of discernment and response.

The morning sessions consisted of three presentations.  Rev. Dr. Jose Cristo Rey G. Parades, CMF (Professor Emeritus, ITVR, Madrid, Spain) an erudite theologian and scholar spoke on Political Thelogy – Political Pneumatology: the Key to Understanding, Discern and Act in the Context of Religious Pluralities and Diversities.  Rev. Dr. Selvaraj Arulnathan, S.J. (Director, Indian Social Institute, Bangalore) enlightened the audience with his topic, A Contemporary Analysis of the Indian Scenario.  Rev. Dr. Xavier E. Manavath, CMF (Vicar for the Religious, Archdiocese of Bangalore) dealt elaborately on the theme, Searching for the Foundational Wisdom in Religions: A Path towards Inclusivity and Acceptance.  The morning sessions ended with a panel discussion, followed by lunch.

In the afternoon, Rev. Fr Vincent Anesthasiar, CMF (General In-charge of JPIC, Claretians, Rome) attracted the attention of the audience to Promotion of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation for Nation Building.  At the conclusion of the Seminar was the Solemn Eucharistic Celebration presided over by his Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Bernard Moras the Archbishop of Bangalore.  The Archbishop in his homily invited all consecrated men and women to be committed to the cause of unity, inclusivity and acceptance in the process of building up our nation and as the pathway for the realization of the God’s Kingdom. The Seminar came to an end at 4.15 followed by tea and departure.